Read This: The Art of Outdoor Living

February 05, 2021

Are you craving greenery? Want to drool over gorgeous Southern California patio and entry gardens while gleaning excellent design ideas for your own garden? Then immerse yourself in Los Angeles designer Scott Shrader’s book, The Art of Outdoor Living: Gardens for Entertaining Family and Friends (Rizzoli, 2019). This beautifully photographed, oversized hardback was published pre-pandemic, but I didn’t come across it until late last year. It’s especially timely for the Covid era, when we’re all using our outdoor hangout spaces more than ever and wanting them to be more inviting and comfortable.

Image from The Art of Outdoor Living

Shrader is a designer to the stars — Ellen DeGeneres and Patrick Dempsey are name-dropped on the book flap — and that might dissuade the average gardener from looking here for design inspiration. It shouldn’t. While the featured gardens are very high-end, their loveliness is rooted in elegant simplicity, an emphasis on greenery over masses of hardscaping (Shrader favors inexpensive gravel paving), and an inviting practicality that the designer explains in an overview of each garden.

Image from The Art of Outdoor Living

For instance, I’m in love with this front yard’s meadowy swath of sedge cut through

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